James Rodriguez starred on his first Bundesliga start for Bayern Munich, scoring one goal and playing a role in the others for a 3-0 win at Schalke on Tuesday.
James, who switched from Real Madrid in the offseason, earned a penalty and then scored in the first half, before brilliantly setting up Arturo Vidal to wrap up the win in the second.
“James played very well, very much for the team with good combination-play, but physically he is not yet at 100 percent,” Bayern coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
While the Colombian midfielder made his first league start for Bayern, American teenager Weston McKennie did likewise for the home team. Despite the efforts of the 19-year-old Texan midfielder – who covered more ground than any other player in the first half – Schalke had no answer to James’ individual brilliance.
“We created the goals very well, so we deserved to win,” said Bayern’s reserve goalkeeper Sven Ulreich, playing in place of Germany No. 1 Manuel Neuer. Neuer has been ruled out until January with another hairline fracture of the metatarsal in his left foot.
The home side was first to have the ball in the net, but Amine Harit’s goal was ruled out as Bastian Oczipka was offside. Ulreich had done well with two saves beforehand.
Bayern got the penalty after referee Marco Fritz consulted his video assistant to see if Naldo had handled the ball when James cut it back. The Brazilian defender was going to ground but had his arms raised when the ball struck.
Protests by Schalke players had no effect and Robert Lewandowski duly converted from the spot.
It got worse for the home side four minutes later, when Bayern scored after a Schalke throw-in. Thomas Mueller, Lewandowski and Corentin Tolisso worked the ball to the unmarked James, who wrong-footed Ralf Faehrmann to score his first Bundesliga goal.
Mueller hit the post with a header from a cross by James after the break, before substitute Yevhen Konoplyanka went close at the other end.
Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco brought on Swiss forward Breel Embolo for McKennie with just over half an hour remaining.
Any hopes of an equalizer ended when James eluded two defenders and delivered a perfect ball for Vidal to strike with a volley to the top corner.
“Altogether there’s no denying that Bayern had a very good day. Then it’s hard for any team,” Schalke general manager Christian Heidel said.
WOLFSBURG FRUSTRATION, AUGSBURG ELATION
Fin Bartels’ second-half header earned Werder Bremen a 1-1 draw at Wolfsburg and denied Martin Schmidt a winning start as coach. Schmidt was appointed Monday when Wolfsburg fired Andries Jonker after the team had claimed just four points in its opening four games.
Michael Gregoritsch’s fourth-minute strike was enough for Augsburg to beat visiting Leipzig 1-0 for its third win from five games.
Two goals from Brazilian midfielder Raffael gave Borussia Moenchengladbach a 2-0 win at home over promoted Stuttgart.